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This post is all about the countries that drive on the left side of the road.
Why do some countries zig while the rest of the world zags?
If you’ve ever taken a trip overseas and suddenly found yourself on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, you probably thought you were surrounded by a bunch of weirdos.
But the truth is the habit of driving on the left is more common than you think. In fact, this is the way of life for almost one-third of the countries in the world.
In this post we’ll list all those countries where left is right and right is… well, not.
What does it mean to drive on the left side of the road?
In left-hand driving, vehicles travel on the left side of the road, while the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle.
While this practice may seem unusual to those accustomed to right-hand driving, it has a rich historical background and cultural significance in various parts of the world.
Why do some countries drive on the left?
The tradition of left-hand driving goes way back to the days of horseback travel in Ancient Rome.
Back then it was customary for riders to ride on the left side of the road so that their dominant hand, often the right, would be free to wield a weapon for defense if needed. Or so the story goes.
Although most of us don’t have to worry about fending off attackers while driving, the tradition of left-hand driving has stuck in many parts of the world, particularly those that are or were once under the influence of Britain.
However, the majority shifted to right-hand driving, for other reasons that go way back.
But that’s a story for another day!
How many countries drive on the left side of the road?
You might be surprised to learn that there are around 67 countries and territories that drive on the left.
That’s just about one-third of all the countries in the world.
These countries span across different continents, each with its own unique driving culture and road rules.
List of countries that drive on the left
Below are the 67 countries where you’ll need to keep to the left when you hit the road.
- South Africa
- East Timor
- Hong Kong
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
North America/ Caribbean
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Cook Islands
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Pitcairn Islands
- Solomon Islands
Is driving on the left better?
You might be wondering, is driving on the left better?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward.
The choice of driving side is generally tied to historical and cultural reasons rather than concrete right-or-wrong scenarios.
However, certain studies suggest that left-hand driving may have benefits like better road visibility.
On the other hand (no pun intended), right-hand drivers argue they have an easier time maneuvering the gears and controls.
At the end of the day, it’s about following the driving rules of the country you’re in.
Tips for Driving on the Left
Adjusting to left-hand driving can be a bit challenging, especially if you’re used to driving on the right. Here are some tips to help you navigate the roads with ease:
- Take it Slow: Give yourself time to adjust. Start with familiarizing yourself with the car’s controls and gradually ease into driving on the left side of the road.
- Stay Focused: Pay extra attention to your surroundings, especially when changing lanes, approaching roundabouts, or making turns.
- Follow the Local Drivers: Observe how local drivers behave and follow their lead. This can give you valuable insights into the flow of traffic and driving norms.
- Practice in Low-Traffic Areas: If possible, practice driving on the left in low-traffic areas or parking lots before venturing onto busier roads.
- Use Visual References: Look for visual cues, such as road signs, lane markings, and other vehicles, as they can guide you in staying on the correct side of the road.
As quirky as it may initially seem, left-hand driving is actually more common than you might think, with about 67 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and India practicing it.
It’s not just a random decision, but a practice deeply rooted in history. So, the next time you find yourself on the “other” side of the road, remember these tips and take it as an exciting opportunity to experience a different perspective.